Computers & Electronics

Anyone here have a laptop with 4G LTE/5G embedded?

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[OP]
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Nov 7, 2003
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Anyone here have a laptop with 4G LTE/5G embedded?

Ever since I bought an iPad Pro with 4G LTE, I can't imagine a mobile device without a WWAN connection. It's disappointing that this isn't an option with the M1 Macs or I would have bought one. I'm looking at a Lenovo Thinkpad, but it's a very pricey addition to the laptop. I know I can always tether, but it's just not convenient. Anyone here can comment on what their experience was and whether the battery life was much worse using WWAN?
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Aug 22, 2006
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I had one in the past. That was a fun project /s. I ended up buying the wrong modem since I read the bands wrong. It's much easier now though so not really an issue.

Since I had to run the notebook to have internet, I'd have to have another active device anyways so my phone/tablet/watch/whatever would also have internet.
I ended up basically never using it because of the above. I ended up with 2 phones at the end of the day since screen usage is murder on batteries.
I had a cheapie that was tether only that was never screened on and whatever my flavor of the year was for a workhorse. And back then I carried a tablet too since I still hate small screens.

I wouldn't do it again. Even when I did, it didn't last too long.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
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Mar 23, 2009
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Sgt_Strider wrote: Ever since I bought an iPad Pro with 4G LTE, I can't imagine a mobile device without a WWAN connection. It's disappointing that this isn't an option with the M1 Macs or I would have bought one. I'm looking at a Lenovo Thinkpad, but it's a very pricey addition to the laptop. I know I can always tether, but it's just not convenient. Anyone here can comment on what their experience was and whether the battery life was much worse using WWAN?
Interestingly, Apple made MacBooks with cellular support, but ended up never releasing them.

https://9to5mac.com/2011/08/14/apple-wa ... cbook-pro/

Image

Anyhow before Covid my intent was always to buy my next iPad Pro with 5G support. Why? Yes it's more convenient than tethering but the main reason is it really, really kills my iPhone battery when I tether my iPad Pro or my MacBook off of it. This is a dealkiller when travelling.

However, now this is less important for me because I'm never travelling and even after the pandemic is over I will likely work from home a lot, lot more and will travel a lot, lot less, making 5G much less critical for me.

EDIT:

Reading your post again I'm thinking your question was about battery life of the laptop, not a tethered phone. If that is your question, I can't answer that.
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Dec 2, 2004
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Not worth it for manufacturers to have this as an optional SKU'd product as the demand is probably insignificant - most users would probably tether their phone, or get an optional External USB 4G LTE modem like this one from Netgear.
[OP]
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frugal69 wrote: Not worth it for manufacturers to have this as an optional SKU'd product as the demand is probably insignificant - most users would probably tether their phone, or get an optional External USB 4G LTE modem like this one from Netgear.
Apple seems to be able to make it work on their iPads. Really praying that their MacBooks will have it as a $150 add-on in the future.
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You can easily buy a miniPCIe card for this. Or use mobile hotspot on your phone. Or buy an external USB dongle. Or buy an external battery powered LTE Wifi router like the Netgear Nighthawk M1
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I will never use a device without LTE either

... but Windows is a pig. It constantly sends telemetry to Microsoft and will eat up your data.
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Gee wrote: I will never use a device without LTE either

... but Windows is a pig. It constantly sends telemetry to Microsoft and will eat up your data.
Any way to configure Windows to do that as little as possible?
[OP]
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kramer1 wrote: You can easily buy a miniPCIe card for this. Or use mobile hotspot on your phone. Or buy an external USB dongle. Or buy an external battery powered LTE Wifi router like the Netgear Nighthawk M1
I rather not. It's just not convenient. I like being able to pull out my device and start using the internet immediately. At the airport, I can take out my iPad Pro and connect to the LTE network without messing around with passwords and the speed is reliable, unlike airport wifi. As I said, Apple can make this really easy for me by including that option as a $150 add-on. Their devices have a better resale value too. I do like Thinkpads, but to pay several hundred dollars for the LTE add-on and then basically lose all of the value when it comes time to sell and upgrade. Anyways, it's hard to explain to people the benefit of being constantly connected until they experienced it themselves. I also can get pretty good rates with Telus through my employer. I'll go back to the Canada/US plan once I can travel freely between Canada and the US.
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Feb 9, 2008
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Which thinkpad are you looking at? Might cost more if you go for the slim ones.
I'm seeing around $250 before discounts for the LTE option, if you customize on their site for the T series.

Ipad Pro non-LTE and LTE seems to have around $200 difference, as well.
The retail cost for the LTE/4G card and antenna are probably close to $150-200 as well.
Even Telus' LTE hubs cost 100-200.
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zerod wrote: Which thinkpad are you looking at? Might cost more if you go for the slim ones.
I'm seeing around $250 before discounts for the LTE option, if you customize on their site for the T series.

Ipad Pro non-LTE and LTE seems to have around $200 difference, as well.
The retail cost for the LTE/4G card and antenna are probably close to $150-200 as well.
Even Telus' LTE hubs cost 100-200.
Looking at either the X1 Nano or the X1 Carbon Gen 9. If I'm going to buy a Windows laptop, those are the only options I would consider.
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Sgt_Strider wrote: Looking at either the X1 Nano or the X1 Carbon Gen 9. If I'm going to buy a Windows laptop, those are the only options I would consider.
Yeah, there's a premium on the slim models, and +$322 to add the LTE card for custom configuration.
The only pre-configured X1 Nano model with the option is top of the line, MSRP $3,979.00.

Only +$236 for the X1 Carbon G9 (Quectel EM120R-GL 4G LTE CAT12, not to be confused with the +$665 5G option).
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Sgt_Strider wrote: Ever since I bought an iPad Pro with 4G LTE, I can't imagine a mobile device without a WWAN connection. It's disappointing that this isn't an option with the M1 Macs or I would have bought one. I'm looking at a Lenovo Thinkpad, but it's a very pricey addition to the laptop. I know I can always tether, but it's just not convenient. Anyone here can comment on what their experience was and whether the battery life was much worse using WWAN?
I wonder the same thing, why MBP don’t come with SIM or eSIM support.
[OP]
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THINKPOD wrote: I wonder the same thing, why MBP don’t come with SIM or eSIM support.
It makes no sense to me. The latest iPad Pro have essentially the same hardware so this is absolutely possible.
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zerod wrote: Yeah, there's a premium on the slim models, and +$322 to add the LTE card for custom configuration.
The only pre-configured X1 Nano model with the option is top of the line, MSRP $3,979.00.

Only +$236 for the X1 Carbon G9 (Quectel EM120R-GL 4G LTE CAT12, not to be confused with the +$665 5G option).
At this point, I'm going to want hardware that support 5G.
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Sgt_Strider wrote: Any way to configure Windows to do that as little as possible?
*cough*LTSC
Even then you still have to run one of those crap cleaners to disable some.
But LTSC is a step in the right direction.
Sadly.... it's next to impossible to actually purchase.
Sgt_Strider wrote: I rather not. It's just not convenient. I like being able to pull out my device and start using the internet immediately. At the airport, I can take out my iPad Pro and connect to the LTE network without messing around with passwords and the speed is reliable, unlike airport wifi.
I'm not sure if the router someone else mentioned is battery powered, but I used to have a dedicated phone to tether with. It'd always be online so it's as fast as connecting to wifi (which is pretty quick). No passwords etc because it's your own hardware.
For me personally I picked up a Moto E 2 a while back because it was $10-$50. It supports LTE and without using it (because why would you) I could get like 14 hours battery life tethering. Everything (phone/tablet/notebook/watch/car phone/car/etc) connected to that. I'd keep it in my purse (I'm a dude) that I'm always carrying anyways so the only real inconvenience is charging it every night.

5G probably won't be $50 cheap, but LTE is still pretty damn quick.

I get the allure of onboard 5G, but IMO even for $150 it's not worth it.
External anything connected (ie USB) isn't worth it at all. Dongles just suck.
Carrying a 2nd phone while not ideal to me is the best compromise between onboard/convenience/price.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.
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death_hawk wrote: I get the allure of onboard 5G, but IMO even for $150 it's not worth it.
External anything connected (ie USB) isn't worth it at all. Dongles just suck.
Carrying a 2nd phone while not ideal to me is the best compromise between onboard/convenience/price.
My wife has a cellular iPad. Battery life on cellular is very similar to battery life on WiFi in the real world. Apple's website confirms this, saying that battery life for web surfing is 10 hours on WiFi vs. 9 hours on cellular, so a 10% difference.

In contrast, when tethering from the iPhone, battery life of the iPhone is very short in comparison. We're talking a few hours. Even with a second phone, this could be a major problem when travelling. Plus it's annoying. It doesn't always automatically connect.

That said, you can plug in the iPhone to the Mac to tether that way to save battery. I suppose that could diminish the Mac's battery life somewhat though, since that setup keeps the iPhone charged at 100%, charging from the Mac's USB port.
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EugW wrote: My wife has a cellular iPad. Battery life on cellular is very similar to battery life on WiFi in the real world. Apple's website confirms this, saying that battery life for web surfing is 10 hours on WiFi vs. 9 hours on cellular, so a 10% difference.
10% is pretty significant to be honest.
In contrast, when tethering from the iPhone, battery life of the iPhone is very short in comparison. We're talking a few hours.
My Moto E 2 was 14. Radios don't take nearly as much battery as screens do.
Using your primary will obviously shrink your battery (as it does with my Pixel) but having a dedicated phone with literally zero screen time gives you a huge life.
I get like 7-8 hours tethering on my Pixel 3 XL with regular usage with as I said above 14 hours tethering with a dedicated tethering phone.
I carried 2 phones around for years using this setup. My primary would always die but my tethering would last all day.
Even with a second phone, this could be a major problem when travelling. Plus it's annoying. It doesn't always automatically connect.
That's the nature of Wifi and something I can't argue.
It works just fine 95% of the time.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.

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